Related to: 'The Chestnut Tree (A Short Story)'

December Book of the Month

Nikki and Damien continue in Take Me

I awake to an empty bed and the smell of frying bacon. I roll over to find my phone on the bedside table, then glance at the time. Not yet six. I groan and fall back among the pillows, but I don't really want to go back to sleep. What I want is Damien. I slide out of bed, then grab the tank top and yoga pants I'd left draped across a nearby armchair. I head barefoot out of the bedroom and move the short distance down the hall to the third-floor kitchen. We're standing in Damien's Malibu house, and the wall of windows that faces the ocean is wide open, the glass panels having been thrust aside to let in the breeze. The smell of the ocean mingles with the scent of breakfast and I breathe deep, realizing that I am content. Whatever demons had poked at me during the night, Damien effectively banished them. I glance toward the windows and out at the darkened Pacific. Waves glow white in the fading moonlight as they break upon the shore. There is beauty there, and part of me wants to walk to the balcony and stare out at the roiling, frothing water. But the siren call of the ocean is nothing compared to my desire to see Damien, and so I turn away from the windows and head straight to the kitchen. It is larger than the one in the condo I used to share with my best friend, Jamie, and it is not even the primary kitchen for this house. That is on the first floor, and could easily service a one-hundred-table restaurant. But this - the "small" kitchen - was installed as an adjunct to the open area that serves as a venue for entertaining, and since it is just down the hall from our bedroom, Damien and I have gotten into the habit of cooking our meals and eating in this cozier, more informal area. Usually we're joined by Lady Meow-Meow, the fluffy white cat I took custody over when Jamie moved out. I know Lady M misses Jamie, but she's also enjoying having the run of this huge house, and Gregory - the valet, butler, and all around house-running guy - spoils her rotten. Now I lean against the half wall that marks the break from hallway to kitchen. Damien is standing at the stove cooking an omelette as if he were nothing more than an ordinary guy. Except there is nothing ordinary about Damien Stark. He is grace and power, beauty and heat. He is exceptional, and he has captured me completely. At the moment, he is shirtless, and I cannot help the way my breath stutters as my eyes skim over the defined muscles of his back and his taut, strong arms. Damien's first fortune came not form business, but from his original career as a champion tennis player. Even now, years later, he has both the look and the power of an elite athlete. I let my gaze drift down appreciatively. He is wearing simple gray sweatpants that sit low on his narrow hips and cling to the curves of his perfectly toned ass. Like me, he is barefoot. He looks young and sexy and completely delicious. Yet despite his casual appearance, I can still see the executive. The powerful businessman who harnessed the world, who shifted it to his own liking and made a fortune in the process. He is strength and control. And I am humbled by the knowledge that I am what he values most of all, and that I will spend the rest of my life at his side. "You're staring," he says, his eyes still on the stove. I grin happily, like a child. "I enjoy looking at pretty things." He turns now, and his eyes rake over me, starting at my toes. "So do I," he says when his gaze reaches my face, and there is so much heat in his voice that my legs go weak and my body quivers with want. His mouth curves into a slow, sexy smile, and I am absolutely certain in that moment that I am going to melt. "You spoiled my surprise," he says, then nods toward the breakfast table where a tray sits with a glass bud vase displaying a single, red rose. "Breakfast in bed."

Headline Review

Sunset Over the Cherry Orchard

Jo Thomas
Authors:
Jo Thomas
Headline Review

The Honey Farm on the Hill

Jo Thomas
Authors:
Jo Thomas
Headline Review

Notes from the Northern Lights (A Short Story)

Jo Thomas
Authors:
Jo Thomas
Headline Review

Late Summer in the Vineyard

Jo Thomas
Authors:
Jo Thomas
Headline Review

The Red Sky At Night (Short Story)

Jo Thomas
Authors:
Jo Thomas

A sparkling, feel-good short story from the bestselling author of The Oyster Catcher and The Olive Branch, available exclusively in ebook.When Layla arrives in the Welsh coastal village of Swn-y-Mor with new fiancé Rob in tow, she plans to carry out her dad's final wishes, then return to Cardiff quickly, before too many unwanted memories surface.But the longer Layla remains, the harder it is to resist the lure of the autumn skies and memories of family holidays gone by. With fishing trips and firesides to enjoy, is Rob really Layla's future, and is Swn-y-Mor going to remain in her past for ever? It's time for Layla to recapture the magic of her childhood...

Headline Review

The Olive Branch

Jo Thomas
Authors:
Jo Thomas

Escape to Italy with The Olive Branch - the irresistible new novel from Jo Thomas, author of ebook bestseller The Oyster Catcher. 'I loved it!' Katie FfordeYou can buy almost anything online these days. For Ruthie Collins, it was an Italian farmhouse.Yet as she battles with a territorial goat and torrential rain just to get through the door of her new Italian home, the words of Ed, her ex, are ringing in her ears. She is daft, impetuous and irresponsible. But Ruthie is determined to turn things around and live the dream.First, though, she must win over her fiery neighbour, Marco Bellanouvo, and his family... Then there's the small matter of running an olive farm. As the seasons change and new roots are put down, olives and romance might just flourish in the warmth of the Mediterranean sun.

Headline Review

The Oyster Catcher

Jo Thomas
Authors:
Jo Thomas

Ebook bestseller The Oyster Catcher is Jo Thomas's first irresistibly feel-good novel, set on the coast of Ireland. 'A world you long to live in with characters you love' Katie FfordeDooleybridge, County Galway: the last place Fiona Clutterbuck expects to end up, alone, on her wedding night.But after the words 'I do' have barely left her mouth, that's exactly where she is - with only her sequined shoes and a crashed camper van for company.One thing is certain: Fi can't go back. So when the opportunity arises to work for brooding local oyster farmer, Sean Thornton, she jumps at the chance. Now Fi must navigate suspicious locals, jealous rivals and an unpredictable boss if she's to find a new life, and love, on the Irish coast. And nothing - not even a chronic fear of water - is going to hold her back.Join Fi as she learns the rules of the ocean - and picks up a few pearls of Irish wisdom along the way...Glowing praise for The Oyster Catcher:'A warm and witty debut' Carole Matthews'A perfect pearl of a story. I loved it' Milly Johnson'A heart-warming tale full of Celtic charm... What more could you wish for?' Ali McNamara

Adele Parks

Adele Parks worked in advertising until she published her first novel in 2000. Since then, her many Sunday Times bestsellers have been translated into twenty-six different languages. Adele spent her adult life in Italy, Botswana and London until 2005 when she moved to Guildford, where she now lives with her husband and son. Adele believes reading is a basic human right, so she works closely with The Reading Agency as an Ambassador for Reading Ahead, a programme designed to encourage adult literacy.Meet Adele! Visit her website for the latest news on her upcoming events: www.adeleparks.com, head to Facebook for exclusive extras: facebook.com/OfficialAdeleParks and chat with Adele on Twitter @adeleparks.

Andrea Levy

Andrea Levy was born in England to Jamaican parents who came to Britain in 1948. After attending writing workshops when she was in her mid-thirties, Levy began to write the novels that she, as a young woman, had always wanted to read - entertaining novels that reflect the experiences of black Britons, which look at Britain and its changing population and at the intimacies that bind British history with that of the Caribbean. She has written six books, including SMALL ISLAND, which was the unique winner of both the Orange Prize for Fiction and the Whitbread book of the Year, in addition to the Commonwealth Writer's Prize and the Orange Prize 'Best of the Best'. Her most recent novel, THE LONG SONG, won the Walter Scott Prize and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.

Clemency Burton-Hill

Clemency Burton-Hill is one of the UK's leading arts broadcasters and writers. She is one of the presenters of BBC Radio 3 Breakfast, the Proms, and Young Musician of the Year as well as numerous other music and arts programmes on radio, television and online. A former presenter of The Culture Show and The Review Show, as a journalist she regularly contributes to the Observer, Economist, 1843 Magazine, FT Weekend, Guardian and Telegraph. She is also the classical music columnist for BBC Culture. An award-winning violinist, Clemency has performed all over the world under leading conductors. She is the co-founder of Aurora Orchestra and a patron of the music and arts education charities The Choir of London Trust and Dramatic Need.

Daniela Sacerdoti

Daniela Sacerdoti is a phenomenon. Over one million copies of her novels have been sold in eBook, her debut novel WATCH OVER ME was the 8th bestselling Kindle book of all time in 2015 and she was also ranked as the 11th top-selling Kindle author. Daniela writes beautiful, haunting and bestselling fiction for adults (the Glen Avich series), young adults (the Sarah Midnight trilogy) and children. Her novels have been translated in twelve languages. Daniela was born and raised in Italy. She studied Classics, then lived in Scotland for fourteen years, where she married and taught in a primary school. Daniela's children's book Really Weird Removals.Com was shortlisted for the Scottish Children's Book Awards. She has also written for the BBC. Daniela, her husband and their two sons make their home in a tiny village in the Alps. To discover more about Daniela and her world, visit www.danielasacerdoti.com.

Harriet Evans

Harriet Evans is the author of seven previous novels, Going Home, A Hopeless Romantic, The Love of Her Life, I Remember You, Love Always, Happily Ever After and Not Without You. She lives in London with her family.

Jack McDevitt

Jack McDevitt is a former naval officer, taxi driver, English teacher, and motivational trainer, and is now a full-time writer. Eleven of his novels have been Nebula finalists, and SEEKER won the award in 2007. In 2015 Jack won the Robert A. Heinlein Award, given an author of outstanding published works in science fiction and technical writings that inspire the human exploration of space. McDevitt was selected as the winner in recognition of his body of work, which includes over 21 novels and 81 short stories.McDevitt lives in Georgia with his wife Maureen.

James Patterson

James Patterson is one of the best-known and biggest-selling writers of all time. Since winning the EdgarT Award for Best First Novel with The Thomas Berryman Number, his books have sold in excess of 300 million copies worldwide and he has been the most borrowed author in UK libraries for the past eight years in a row. He is the author of some of the most popular series of the past two decades - the Alex Cross, Women's Murder Club, Detective Michael Bennett and Private novels - and he has written many other number one bestsellers including romance novels and stand-alone thrillers. He lives in Florida with his wife and son. James is passionate about encouraging children to read. Inspired by his own son who was a reluctant reader, he also writes a range of books specifically for young readers. James is a founding partner of Booktrust's Children's Reading Fund in the UK.

Janet Evanovich

JANET EVANOVICH is the No. 1 New York Times bestselling author of the Stephanie Plum novels including Turbo Twenty-Three and Tricky Twenty-Two; the Knight and Moon novels including Curious Minds, co-written with Phoef Sutton; five novels in the Fox & O'Hare series - The Heist, The Chase, The Job, The Scam and The Pursuit - co-written with Lee Goldberg; the Lizzy and Diesel novels including most recently Wicked Charms, co-written with Phoef Sutton; twelve romance novels; the Alexandra Barnaby novels; the Troublemaker graphic novels; and How I Write: Secrets of a Bestselling Author. She has won several major crime fiction awards including the CWA John Creasey Award, Dilys Award and Silver Dagger.Janet's website can be found at www.evanovich.com. She is on Twitter - @janetevanovich - and Facebook - /JanetEvanovich.

Jed Rubenfeld

Currently the Robert R. Slaughter Professor of Law at Yale University, Jed Rubenfeld has been described as `one of the most elegant legal writers of his generation`. He lives in New Haven, Connecticut, with his wife and two daughters. His first novel, THE INTERPRETATION OF MURDER, published in thirty-six territories, was the bestselling UK adult paperback title of 2007, and winner of the Richard and Judy Bookclub. THE DEATH INSTINCT is his second novel.

Jen Williams

JEN WILLIAMS started writing about pirates and dragons as a young girl and hasn't ever stopped. Her short stories have featured in numerous anthologies and her debut novel, The Copper Promise, was published in 2014 to huge acclaim. Jen was nominated in the Best Newcomer category at the 2015 British Fantasy Awards and her second novel, The Iron Ghost, was shortlisted for the 2016 British Fantasy Awards Novel of the Year award. All novels in the Copper Cat Trilogy, The Copper Promise, The Iron Ghost, and The Silver Tide, are available from Headline in the UK. The Ninth Rain is the first electrifying new novel of The Winnowing Flame Trilogy. Jen lives in London with her partner and their cat.

Jennie Melamed

Jennie Melamed is a psychiatric nurse practitioner who specialises in working with traumatised children. She lives in Seattle. This is her first novel.

Jo Thomas

Jo Thomas worked for many years as a reporter and producer, first for BBC Radio 5, before moving on to Radio 2's The Steve Wright Show. In 2013 Jo won the RNA Katie Fforde Bursary. Her debut novel, The Oyster Catcher, was a runaway bestseller in ebook and was awarded the 2014 RNA Joan Hessayon Award and the 2014 Festival of Romance Best Ebook Award. Jo lives in the Vale of Glamorgan with her husband and three children.

Julia Keller

Julia Keller was born and raised in Huntington, West Virginia. The chief book critic for the Chicago Tribune, she has taught both creative and non-fiction writing at Princeton, the University of Notre Dame and the University of Chicago, and won the Pulitzer Prize for feature writing in 2005. Her first novel, A KILLING IN THE HILLS, was highly acclaimed is also available from Headline.